Welcome to First Baptist Church

A Progressive, Welcoming and Affirming Baptist Church

An LGBT Friendly Church

Christian Family Education for all Ages

Office Hours: Monday - Thursday, 10 AM - 1 PM

The Community Read at First Baptist -- Starting October 23, 2016

First Baptist Church is joining the New Jim Crow Community Read! During adult education this Fall, Leslie Schultz and Louise Mudrak will facilitate Adult Education classes focusing on the book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. We will meet on October 23, 30, November 6, 20, 27, and December 4, immediately following the worship service at 11:15 am. Our time together will include prayer, consideration of related scripture, discussion of the book, exercises, and discernment about FBC's interest and role in changing our current system of mass incarceration, and the healing and support of those who have lived in that system.

These classes are open to the public, so please feel free to invite folks who you think would be interested to join us. Although we bring a Christian perspective to this, people from all spiritual and faith traditions are welcome, and will be encouraged to share their own faith perspectives. Please consider joining us for this series.

We are excited to gather together to discern, once again, those words from Micah 6:8 -- What does the Lord require of you? To do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God. We will have free books to distribute each Sunday through October 23; books also are available at the Multicultural Resource Center (at Tompkins County Cooperative Extension, 615 Willow Ave., Ithaca, NY) or can be borrowed from the Tompkins County Public Library.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander, is the definitive academic/legal account of the contemporary system of mass incarceration. In Alexander's words, mass incarceration is a "stunningly comprehensive and well disguised system of racialized social control that functions in a manner strikingly similar to Jim Crow" -- the system of legalized segregation, discrimination and violence that operated from the late 1800s Reconstruction Period to the mid 1960s Civil Rights Era. That system has largely faded from public consciousness, but Alexander's book demonstrates how, in the current era of colorblindness, mass incarceration constitutes a New Jim Crow, creating a racialized second class citizenry around the label "criminal." Mass incarceration, like earlier systems of racial control (slavery and Jim Crow), will change only as the result of mass social movements for racial justice.

Since March, the Community Read has brought together more than 30 community organizations to develop a plan to study, and ultimately take action, to confront mass incarceration, one of the United States' most urgent and devastating social crises. The Community Book Read project, which will last from September 2016 to April 2017, will consist of free films and community events based on chapter themes as well as Book Groups -- one of which will be this activity at First Baptist. More information about the Community Read is available at the Multicultural Resource Center website.

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~ Who We Are ~ `

The First Baptist Church is a child friendly progressive American Baptist Church in the heart of downtown Ithaca. Our membership, coming from a great variety of cultural, familial, and religious traditions, holds to individual freedom of belief. We strive to be accepting, respectful, welcoming, and inclusive to those at different stages of their faith journey. First Baptist Church is a member of the Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists, and welcome and affirm all people regardless of race, gender, nationality, religious background or sexual orientation.

Our Intention:

  • in worship is to seek, be inspired and directed by God's spirit; bring together the Bible's message and our lives; blend traditional and contemporary expressions of faith.

  • in fellowship is to relate people to each other; enjoy the congregation's diversity and pluralism; celebrate life in Jesus Christ that binds us to each other and others around the world.

  • in education is to enable faith-building; increase biblical understanding and knowledge of the Church; equip God's people for the work of ministry.

  • in service is to respond to individual and community needs; support justice and humanitarian causes throughout the world; reinforce ecumenical and international understanding and peace.

    We look forward to welcoming you at First Baptist.

    Sunday Worship     10:00 AM
    Coffee/Fellowship 11:15 AM
    Church Classes       11:30 AM

    No Adult Education on the second Sunday of each month due to our community breakfast.
    Worship services are family-friendly and nursery care is also available.


    What does the Lord require of you?
    To do Justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.
    ~Micah 6:8~